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The Secret Life of Grief

by Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, 3 December 2013

A longer weekend read from two years ago: Derek Thompson’s funny sad honest memories of the death of his beloved mother lead him to discover resilience in grief. This is how we have better conversations about dying.

Eulogies ought to begin with a laugh, I decided, so this is how my eulogy began: with the story of how I learned that parents grow up, too.

My mom died on July 18, 2013, of pancreatic cancer, a subtle blade that slips into the host so imperceptibly that by the time a presence is felt, it is almost always too late. Living about 16 months after her diagnosis, she was “lucky,” at least by the new standards of the parallel universe of cancer world. We were all lucky and unlucky in this way. Having time to watch a loved one die is a gift that takes more than it gives.

Psychologists call this drawn out period “anticipatory grief.”

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